‘Welcome to the world of tomorrow!’
In an alternate time-line, the world is divided between those who have and those who have not.
For those in Utopia, life is good! Technologically advanced, every need is catered for, every wish fulfilled. Overseen by their benevolent government, the Utopians are protected from the outside dystopian world and the disease ridden creatures that wander there.
But is all as perfect as it seems? Are there darker truths to be uncovered?
Ever since we got into escape rooms we have been hearing about Derby as an escape room venue, so we knew when we planned our escape room road trip that we would inevitably end up in Derby. It was day six of our epic road trip and we were at Make Your Escape in Derby to play all of their games. We had just successfully completed dealing with aliens in The Signal, and witchcraft in Spellbound, so we were feeling suitably warmed up.
Chances are if you’re reading this review then you know the gimmick with Utopia. Utopia is a standalone game in its own right, but can also be played back-to-back with Dystopia to form one mega-game! Everyone told us that these games were better when played as one, so we let our GM choose our order and went with that. First up was technically Dystopia and then we seamlessly moved into Utopia.
Our gamesmasters for the day were Harry and Helena, and Harry gave us the health and safety briefing outside of the entrance to Dystopia. When we finally made our way out of Dystopia and into Utopia, there was a mission specific briefing for the room via video.
Covid-19 Procedures: Make Your Escape had a strict mask policy (which we liked), we wore masks the entire time as did all staff. There was plenty of hand sanitiser around the building and we didn’t see any other teams while we were on site.
Going from Dystopia into Utopia couldn’t have been more different. We left the bleak surroundings of Dystopia and entered into a room with bright light and a clinical feel to it. The whole experience just reminded me of the film Divergent with the different factions, and while Dystopia was lower-tech with more padlocks, Utopia was much more visually impressive and many things were powered by tech.
Annoyingly there were a few items/puzzles in the game that were not actually needed, I understand these are in there for if you were playing against another team in the opposing room. So if we were playing Utopia and we had friends playing Dystopia, we could do things that would affect their game and vice-versa. A nice touch if you are playing competitively, but it just meant we wasted a bit of time on things we didn’t need.
The narrative fit the game really well and the whole ‘two-games-into-one’ thing was inspired. It would be great to see more companies doing this as it really helps with feeling immersed in the story.
Out of the two rooms, in terms of design, I think Utopia was my preferred room. The movement between the spaces and the interaction with the props was immensely satisfying, and I’m always a sucker for bright rooms with fancy lighting effects.
Upon entering into the world of Utopia, we found it to be relatively linear but then later on it opened up to be very non-linear right up to the finale.
A very wide ranging number of puzzle types here; logic, observation, maths, memory and wordplay, and much more lateral thinking than Dystopia.
With just one padlock in Utopia, everything else was driven by tech. This was nice to see as it really helped us feel immersed in the world of this futuristic society.
Out of the entire game, the only puzzles we didn’t really like were the ones in the finale. They just felt a bit lazy and were the types of puzzles that if you’ve spent any time on social media, you will have seen many times. Despite not liking these puzzles, the interface that went with it was pretty cool and ramped up the adrenaline towards the end.
I’m not sure if Harry or Helena was our GM for Utopia, but whoever it was did a great job. I don’t recall needing any clues, but if we did they would have been delivered over a screen in the room, much like in Dystopia. This screen also had our game timer on it.
I’d guess that our GMs did more than just watch and provide clues, I’m pretty sure that they had overrides on most of the tech so that if we missed something they could replay it for us – very useful!
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live a world like in the movie ‘Divergent’, then you need to play both Utopia and Dystopia, back-to-back.
The story flowed well between games which was impressive, but I think I preferred the puzzles in Dystopia and the set design in Utopia c
Make your Escape say often if people do well in either dystopia or utopia, they do less well in the other. This isn’t surprising as they require different skill sets – Utopia is more lateral and Dystopia more logical and “traditional”
Team: 2 players – escaped in 45 minutes
Address: 1st Floor, 4 Osmaston Rd, Derby DE1 2HR